VCU provided the tournament’s most shocking result, topping top-seeded Kansas 71-61 on Sunday. The Rams were 10.5-point underdogs entering the game, but sank 12 three-pointers to Kansas’ two and made a 14-point halftime lead stand up despite multiple Kansas threats in the second half.
In Sunday’s other regional final, Kentucky beat North Carolina 76-69 in a battle of college basketball royalty. Fresehman Brandon Knight led the way for the Wildcats with 22 points.
This is the first time no one-seed or two-seed advanced to the national semifinals. No. 3 seed Connecticut (30-9) is the highest seed left and will play No. 4 seed Kentucky (29-8) in one Saturday semifinal in Houston. No. 8 Butler (27-9) and No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth (28-11) meet in the other semifinal. The two winners play for the national championship April 4 in Houston.
The biggest surprise of the Final Four is VCU, which aims to be the lowest-seeded national champion ever. The Rams squeezed into the 68-team tournament field as an inaugural First Four team, which means they were one of the last four schools selected for the tournament. VCU beat Southern California to reach the round of 64 then ran off four straight upsets (No. 6 Georgetown, No. 3 Purdue, No. 10 Florida State and No. 1 Kansas) to punch its Final Four ticket out of the Southwest region. VCU had never reached the Sweet 16 in its nine previous tournament appearances.
Cinderella VCU matches up with Butler, the darling runner-up to Duke in the 2010 tournament. The Bulldogs endured a trying season to become the first team to reach back-to-back Final Fours without being a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed either year.